Saturday, August 27, 2011


The most amazing thing hit me in the last couple days.

We go to God, especially as parents, and ask Him to care for our kids and bless them with every good thing. Yet, we treat God's son, like crap on a regular basis. Many don't seek to know Him. Many don't really have a real desire to serve Him or tell others about how cool He is. We treat Jesus, God's SON, like someone it's best not to talk about because He's controversial and we want others to like us, more than we want Him to. After all, we can't SEE Him right?! So, who knows if He is really real, or there at all. We have a major faith problem in this country but that's another issue!

This morning I woke up and I was hit with a CNN blast about Hurricane Irene so I immediately checked on my girlfriend, Nina in NYC. She was OK although she woke up to the ocean at the back door of her beach house in the Hampton's. Since her house is 5 blocks from the beach that was a little scary. Then I checked on a basketball coach friend in North Carolina.

I was soon on auto pilot, with the day crashing in on what should be first thing first; morning time with God to start the day. I made a coffee, and began scanning the Restoration Hardware site for new furniture for our place in Kansas. Oh, then I had a thought about my mom, so I called her to chat.

Eventually, my husband called and we decided to say morning prayer. I begrudgingly turned the computer off and we began. Not, 5 sentences into prayer I asked God to bless my son's day and began my to do list of gifts that I expected from God for my child for the day.

And, it hit me. Deep in the gut.

I had totally ignored His son, yet I wanted Him to pay CLOSE and FULL attention to mine AND with an armload of victories and blessings for the day, of course! I basically told GOD that my kid was more important than His. Basically. Sugar coat it in your own life, if you want, but that's what's going on amongst believers DAILY.

Because I TRULY desire to please God, shame, regret, and fear flooded my heart. I almost stopped there but the Holy Spirit urged me to move forward and not get stuck THERE. I apologized to the God I fear, yet love even more. I expressed my shame, felt tears in my eyes, and asked, no begged for forgiveness and mercy.

I am pretty sold out for Jesus. I live a fairly full life of service and am trying and growing daily in my efforts to really SEE myself and my actions through God's eyes. I value my relationship with Him and I realize that the way to really see God is by gazing deeply into the life of Christ.

Yet, even I, at a decent level in my walk, make the mistake of letting the auto-pilot of the day occur and the cares of the world easily flood in and before I know it I am off to the races without saying; Thank you Father, Thank you Jesus. Thank you. I have so much to be thankful for.

In my case, thank you that my Friday night was spent with my 19 year old and his teammate and their 2 girl-friends in church praising Jesus and then driving around campus laughing as we picked drunk kids up and witnessed to them about the love of Christ before dropping them safely off at their sororities or dorms. A VERY different College experience than my own I might add. These passengers, on our first Friday night experiment, were shocked that 2 Kansas basketball players were picking them up, not drunk, filled with the light of Christ, and helping them out. It was like Mick Jagger driving by and offering you a lift and then telling you about a really cool dude, whose our Savior! My son and his teammates are seriously rock-stars on campus, because they're on the team, and I think the weightiness of this really hit my son squarely last night. I saw the lightbulb flashing in his mind, and the wheels spinning, and he was forever changed. In a world where most kids, and I was one of them, spend Friday nights getting drunk, high, and looking for love in all the wrong places, my kid and his friends were loving Jesus and laughing and hanging out having good, clean, fun...with ME, the mother.

God blessed me with this relationship with my son, in spite of the madness he has seen, and I KNOW what a miracle I have been given. I have much to be grateful for.

But, back to the point. We have to stop treating God the Father like we don't truly love His only begotten Son, whom He has given us salvation through. This is very serious. If you come to me, saying you know my son, I am gonna receive you and listen...but if you then charge off by ignoring my son in the room, and treating him like he is second to your desire for me to take care of your son, I am gonna kick you out! Fast. Thankfully, I am NOT God. I have yet to arrive at His level of mercy, forgiveness, and love. I am trying. But, you get the point.

So, not to beat you up, because by this point you should be feeling pretty small and horrible, but here's the question.

Shouldn't we show Jesus how much we love and respect Him for his gift of love to us? Shouldn't we adore our Heavenly Father and shower Him with love and gratitude for doing something we could NEVER do, tell His only son to die for us; a bunch of folks who would forget Him, not find Him very cool to talk about, and treat Him like a secondary friend at best? Second to the laundry, the emails, the telephone and the TV! Shouldn't we?

I say we should. And, after I came to this monumental reality this morning I dared not ask for anything today, except mercy and forgiveness, and the ability to live in love for Jesus.

The kind of love that makes Him first in my day and in my heart in a real way.

Seek first the Kingdom of heaven and all God's righteousness,' and He will do as He says and 'add all the rest' of your needs, wants, and desires, to your day. He will handle your business if you're about understanding His. It's a simple deal that He has NEVER not honored in my life, so I am diligent about these little lessons that show me what I do that in any way dishonors who I want to be before Him.

In His presence is where your true value is determined folks. And, in His presence I challenge you to ask yourself if you have valued Him enough to be there. We all fall short. Yet, when you care, you change. Be grateful if you're feeling rebuked right now. It's good to be lovingly chastised into realizing these seemingly minor, yet huge character flaws, for our father only rebukes those whom he loves as His children.

And, even we forgive our children and our friends and ourselves often. How much more does He forgive all of us?! What a mighty, loving, forgiving God we are privileged to know and serve.

This Hip Girl is off to lunch, happy that Jesus is my guide!

Friday, August 26, 2011


“And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.” (Mark 11:13) (NKJV)

Jesus lifted his eyes and saw a fig tree in the distance with leaves on it. He got excited. A fig right about now would really hit the spot. It was time to eat! In that culture, trees on the roadside provided good sources of nutrition for weary travelers. This situation was no different. Mark’s Gospel gives us a little bit of insider information. At the time Jesus walked along this roadside, it wasn't the season for figs.

Jesus was expecting the unexpected and was disappointed.

Why did he expect the unexpected? Because of the presence of leaves on the fig tree. In Palestine, fruit appears on fig trees before the leaves. So when Jesus saw leaves he got excited. Leaves were there. Surely leaves on the tree signified that there was also fruit on the same tree. In fact, the entire purpose of a leaf on a tree is to make and nurture fruit for the entire tree by trapping light energy and converting it to chemical energy. As Christians, we are, as Mark’s Gospel demonstrates, trees in leaf. In other words, we are showing our leaves. We are built in such a way, spiritually, that we are to trap the light of Christ and convert it to energy, in order to produce fruit. That fruit is the fruit of the Spirit:

"...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..."-Galatians 5:22-23

Please keep in mind, just like the fig tree in the passage:

Jesus requires us to produce fruit in and out of season.

Recession? Produce fruit. Anger? Produce fruit. Sadness? Produce fruit. Frustration? Produce fruit. Irritation? Produce fruit. Tumultuous relationship? Produce fruit. Somebody’s getting on your nerves? Produce fruit. Being mistreated? Produce fruit. Situation getting out of control? Produce fruit.

Do you know that this tree could have enjoyed the privilege of providing Christ one of his last meals before His act of love on the Cross. This passage occurs right before he enters Jerusalem. Instead Jesus was met with disappointment when it failed to meet his expectations.

What kind of tree are you going to be? More importantly, what kind of fruit are you going to produce? When we demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit to others, we meet Christ’s expectations. May we be ever mindful of His great expectations and go to great lengths to properly display our fruit.

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." - John 15:1-2 (ESV)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gratitude Is Always The Right Attitude!

Psalm 106:7
Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea.

"I want it!" She screamed.

Her father turned to where the little girl stood red-faced and defiant. He looked at her and said, "I don't want to hear another word. I bought you a toy last week, and I told you not to ask for anything else. You've had ice cream and I took you to see the pets, now you straighten up. Do you understand?"

Whether she understood or not may still be in question, but her behavior is all too familiar.

Some of us want what we want when we want it, and we really don't care whether we're being ungrateful or not.

God has showered us with blessings, and sometimes we stand defiantly demanding more. God is willing to give us many good things, but not when we refuse to value what we've got.

Christian maturity requires that we learn to be satisfied with what we have. It is pleasing to God when His children say "Thank You," instead of "More."

So, today I say Thank you. I forget how gracious and giving You have been, O Lord. Forgive my lack of gratitude and appreciation. I have no reason to desire more. I have more than I truly need already. Help me to use my abundance for the sake of others. Help me to be happy for others with less when life gives them more. Help me to realize that the more it appears they have, is still quite possibly less than I have. And, help me to understand that the more I need will always be provided, but the more I want is a reward that comes from my gratitude for the more I need that I have already been given. Amen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We Have The Majority!!! by Charles Spurgeon

"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them" (2 Kings 6:16).

Horses and chariots and a great host shut up the prophet in Dothan. His young servant was alarmed. How could they escape from such a body of armed men?

But the prophet had eyes which his servant had not, and he could see a greater host with far superior weapons guarding him from all harm. Horses of fire are mightier than horses of flesh, and chariots of fire are far preferable to chariots of iron.

Even so is it at this hour.

The adversaries of truth are many, influential, learned, and crafty; and truth fares ill at their hands; and yet the man of God has no cause for trepidation.

Agencies, seen and unseen, of the most potent kind, are on the side of righteousness.

God has armies in ambush which will reveal themselves in the hour of need.

The forces which are on the side of the good and the true far outweigh the powers of evil.

Therefore, let us keep our spirits up, and walk with the gait of men who possess a cheering secret, which has lifted them above all fear.

We are on the winning side.

The battle may be sharp, but we know how it will end.

Faith, having God with her, is in a clear majority: "They that be with us are more than they that be with them."

And, He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


The only survivor of a shipwreck came upon a small, uninhabited island. He prayed repeatedly for God to save him and everyday scanned the horizon for his answer. Even though he was exhausted and in despair, he eventually managed to build a little hut to keep him out of the weather and to store his provisions.

Then one day, after searching for food, he came home to find his little hut on fire. The worst thing that could have happened had happened. Everything he had was consumed. In his grief he cried out, "God, how could you do this to me!" Early the next morning, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. They had come to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" asked the castaway. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

I love this little story illustrating how God's providence works. But, do we remember it when the fire is raging? A new friend said something to me a few days ago that was very wise, yet a little scary at the time. She said when a sudden shift occurs do not be moved. She said to prepare even my son's heart for these kinds of changes in direction or routine, no matter how big or small. The truth is that these shifts can be from God working his plan out for our life and not just from the enemy who wants us ruined and off course.

Yesterday, without really realizing that I had had a similar word dropped into my spirit, my son prayed to God to not be moved by any of life's shifts and/or changes this year. He dedicated his upcoming year to God and asked to be a solid and bolder witness. He also prayed not to be concerned with being the popular kid but with being the kid who says and does what's right. Always. A great prayer from an 18 year old!

But, what about all the rest of us? It's easy to get crazy and scared when our 'plan' is interrupted. But, is that faith? Faith is, as Hebrews 11 says, being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. This promise is much bigger than a shift or change in your day, your month, or your life.

The job you lose, may be the blessing that keeps you home with your kids. The guy who dumps you may be the preparation you need to move on to the one who marries you. The college your kid chooses, may open a door to a whole new world in a whole new city. If you keep your eyes on God. If you continue to abide in Him you will bear the fruit of your dreams and visions.

So, while the hut on your island seems to be burning down pray and praise God for the fact that with the smoke that may be raging out of control, He is sending up smoke signals that will bring the help you really desired.

It has dawned on me recently that God, being a God of love, cannot look upon us and want to see us hurt or distraught. He is love. He loves us. We love, as scripture says, because he first loved us. Nowhere, in the definition or act of love does an intentional infliction of emotional distress occur. We do this to ourselves by losing faith when the fire is burning down our beach shack.

God is not a man that He would lie the Bible says. So...My goal, is to try and stay calm when the floods come, and the fires rage. For God would not lie about caring for me, or you, as He cares for the birds. The goal is to stay in faith, solid and sure, that He that began the work in you will complete it to the end.

Personally, I believe that God would not allow promises and prophecies to be spoken over my life that were not sent from Him. My goal is to not be moved! For, He is my rock and my fortress, my strong tower. Trust in God's promises. And, while this is the goal, continue to pray for a smooth passage across the waters of life...and basketball! Laugh. Because, He knows the end at the beginning and when He is faithful and merciful enough to give you a glimpse into His plan you can take it to the bank and deposit it in an account of faith that's already been opened in your name.

Your challenge today, may be your smoke signal bringing tomorrows help. Embrace the fire and in ALL things give Him thanks and praise.

Monday, August 15, 2011


"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me..." Acts 20:24 (NIV)

My first instinct was to leave the clean, folded clothes on top of the dresser. Granted, my arms were filled with freshly laundered items, so it would have been difficult to open the drawer while balancing the stack. I had an excuse for leaving them on top. Didn't I? Instead, I pushed past my instinct, took 30 more seconds, and placed the clothes neatly in the drawer.

This tendency to not complete a task happens with surprising regularity. I toss my bathrobe on the bed, drape jeans on the tub, and set the television remote on the nearest counter top. However, sometimes, when

I'm a bit more self-aware, I take the few extra steps needed to actually finish the task.

Years ago, I realized my practice of stopping short of finishing what I started led to a cluttered home and office. Back then, I had a multitude of unfinished tasks that I just lived with. It wasn't all simple things like putting away clothes, but included larger tasks like leaving a wall half painted.

Starting a project is fun, and usually involves a burst of energy. Then, that energy wanes as I approach the finish line. Instead of pushing to complete the task, assignment or project with excellence, I lean towards settling for good enough. Unfortunately, when I settle for "good enough" consistently, I learn to live with mediocrity. And accepting mediocrity is far from where God wants me to be. You see, finishing what we start is more than a good organizational or home management skill. It's also a spiritual discipline.

As I identified the tendency to settle, I realized it affected me in a variety of ways throughout my life. In the past I accepted a distant relationship with God rather than one of intimacy. I've limited my understanding of

Scripture to a surface level. My relationships with others have gone no deeper than, "Hi, how are you doing?" Instead of pushing to explore the fullness of what God offers in all areas, it is easier to stop short. Perhaps it's safer. Simpler. And with less personal discomfort or inconvenience.

Interestingly, it's actually been somewhat easy to address this issue. I admit the tendency within myself to settle, and I get firm with myself about it. Now, when I would prefer to leave the dryer full of clothes, or emails half typed, I say to myself, "Finish what you start." I make a conscientious decision to finish the task at hand before I move on to something new. Obviously, there are some projects that require more effort, but this works on many of my issues.

I'm not sure of all the reasons for stopping short of finishing with excellence, but I do know the results. I end up with unfulfilled commitments, open loops and shallow relationships. That's a far cry from the life Jesus came to bring, which is full and abundant. Not a partial life, but one lived with pushing to the limits and exploring the outer reaches.

Maybe that seems a deep principle to pull from putting clothes in a drawer or a dirty bowl in the dishwasher. However, the discipline of finishing well is one that is woven through my life...or it's not.

So I guess I'll take the extra step and actually hang up my robe. It's one more stitch in this tapestry of finishing well that God is trying to create in my life. Just one more push and victory is had!

Dear Lord, thank You for demonstrating finishing well through the life of Jesus. I know Jesus could have stopped short of paying the price for my salvation. But He didn't. For that I will be eternally grateful. Please help me push through mediocrity in my life and explore the fullness You long to bring. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Life will, without a doubt, bring obstacles, uncomfortable situations, disappointments, pains and hurts. However, what we do with it is up to each of us individually.

We can allow it to hold us hostage and control our every thought and emotion. We can continue to rehearse it, giving it more power over our lives. Or we can make a decision to let it go.

Yes, it hurt.
Yes, they let you down.
Yes, things didn't turn out the way you expected.
Yes, you were treated poorly.
Yes, they were not there when you needed them most.

However, is dwelling on it making anything better? Is rehashing the situation in your head over and over again changing what took place? No, it just causes you to stay in an angry, unforgiving place.

The thought of forgiving the person or people that hurt you may seem very farfetched, but holding a grudge actually hurts you more than it hurts the other party. The process may not be an easy one, but God has sent a helper, advocate and comforter called the Holy Spirit to walk through it with us.

One of my favorite definitions of a comforter is one that runs to your side and picks you up. Therefore, no matter what state you find yourself in spiritually, mentally and/or emotionally, you can lean on the Holy Spirit to get you through.

I often compare a bad situation to a cut or bruise on my knee. There was definitely pain involved in me getting the cut or bruise and there is definitely a healing process that must take place. As my wound begins to heal, a protective scab appears … often times we are tempted to pick at the scab. This hinders the healing process. Yes, the scab can appear to be ugly…but it serves a purpose.

The same is true of our internal wounds – we have to accept that it (whatever your "it" is) happened, clean the wound (forgiveness), bandage the wound (prayer, seeking God’s face) and allow the scab (the Holy Spirit) to do its work and wait for the healing to take place.

However, if we pick at the scab (rehashing the situation over and over and not letting the Holy Spirit be our help and comfort), that wound will never heal or it will take much longer to heal.

So we have a choice … do you want to prolong your healing and stay in a bruised place by continuing to pick the scab away? Or will you let those wounds heal by letting it go and moving forward?